Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to a fire at a portable at École Océane the morning of Sept. 21. Fire Rescue officials say it is suspicious and the investigation has been handed over to the RCMP. (News Bulletin file)

UPDATED: Fire official deems Saturday morning fire at Nanaimo school suspicious

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes fire at portable at École Océane

A portable at a school in Nanaimo sustained damage this morning in a fire that is being characterized by an official as suspicious.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to a structure fire at 7 a.m. Saturday at the École Océane site on Estevan Road and extinguished it quickly, according to Jodi Le Masurier, assistant chief of training.

“We went to, what was, a suspicious fire for us,” said Le Masurier. “It started on the outside of the building. It was one of their portables and our crews did a great job knocking it down fast, so it actually only got partway into a wall so it did very minimal damage.”

READ ALSO: Hornby Island school fire suspicious; person of interest identified

Le Masurier said she couldn’t comment on possible causes and it was hard to determine if the building would be available for use.

“It looks like it did very minimal damage to the outside, but sometimes it takes a little while before they determine, ‘Are we going to let the students back in here,’” Le Masurier said.

There were no injuries in the incident.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said Monday the fire was started by someone who placed debris next to the side of a portable classroom in an area that was sheltered from view by a large retaining wall and that it would have taken some time for the fire to ignite.

“We’re looking for witnesses, from about 6 a.m. to about 7:30,” O’Brien said. “Anybody in the area. Any vehicles in the area in or around the school … fire bugs often come back because they like to see the fruits of their labour.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at

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A portable at École Océane in Nanaimo was damaged in a fire the morning of Sept. 21. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

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